MySpace and Facebook and social class

The Guardian: In recent years networking sites like MySpace and Facebook have seen remarkable growth and become some of the most heavily trafficked destinations on the internet. But Danah Boyd, a researcher at the University of California and internet sociologist, says populations of different networks are now divided on a rough class basis. Her evidence, collected through a series of interviews with US teenagers using MySpace and Facebook over the past nine months, shows there is a clear gap between the populations of each site.

Operation Ore

A few years ago the UK police carried out Operation Ore. It was a major operation targeting online child pornography. Some 7,272 British residents were added to a police database of people who paid to view child porn online. 4,283 homes were searched, 3,744 people were arrested, 1,451 were convicted. It was a major blow against pedophiles. Or at least, that was the theory. The US had a similar operation, Operation Avalanche.

Life imitates Dave Chapelle

Lawrence Dennis was, arguably, the brains behind American fascism. He attended the Nuremberg rallies, had a personal audience with Mussolini, and met Nazi leaders; throughout the 1930s he provided the intellectual ballast for America’s bourgeoning pro-fascist movement. But though his work was well known and well appreciated by the intelligentsia and political elites on both sides of the Atlantic, there was one crucial fact about him that has never emerged until now: he was black.

Nokia N800

I bought a Nokia N800. It’s an Internet tablet, about the size of a large PDA or a small thin paperback book; almost exactly the same size as a Nintendo DS Lite, in fact. It runs Linux. It connects via WiFi or Bluetooth. I bought it because I spend a lot of time reading web pages, PDFs and other electronic documents. In particular, my “killer app” was to be able to read the electronic edition of The Guardian with my morning coffee—ideally, in bed.

UK lurches rightwards

From The Guardian: Millions of British citizens will be compulsorily required to hold an identity card and see their biometric details placed on a central database after the government last night fended off a backbench rebellion designed to derail the plan. Anyone applying for passports or immigration documents will in two years time be required to apply for an ID card. […] Within two years — that is from 2008-09 — the 7 million people who renew or apply for a passport will be given a full biometric passport, possibly containing electronic scans of all their fingers, thumbs, face and eyes, and have their details entered automatically onto the national identity database.

Winning hearts and minds

Just noting that US troops shot their way into the home of a journalist working for The Guardian, seized video tapes he had shot for Channel 4, hooded him, and took him into custody. They refused to say what they were looking for. Still, he’s been released, so no harm done, right?

News you can use

To celebrate its redesign, The Guardian is offering free access to its online edition for the next two weeks. If you live in America and have always wondered what a real newspaper would be like, now’s your chance to find out. (If you think the New York Times is a real newspaper…well, they ditched their entire technology section to make way for more articles on shopping, fitness and fashion. Says it all really.

The good side of Texas

According to The Guardian, Texas has taken in more than 230,000 refugees from New Orleans. That’s more than every other state added together; Austin alone is planning to take in more refugees than Colorado. (It’s a shame the Coliseum is half demolished.) The Red Cross say they already have more volunteers in Austin than they can use, though the Capitol Area Food Bank is still looking for assistance.

Support our Barbarians

The Guardian yesterday had interesting news from Iraq: Babylon, a city renowned for its beauty and its splendour 1,000 years before Europe built anything comparable, was chosen as the site for a US military base in April 2003, just after the invasion of Iraq. Military commanders set up their camp in the heart of one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and surrounded the enclosed part of the ancient city.

Something to celebrate

The Guardian reports: A US court yesterday fired a shot across the bows of those one prosecutor described as “snake oil salesmen” by recommending that the man thought to be the eighth most prolific “spammer” in the world should be jailed for nine years. Jeremy Jaynes, 30, of North Carolina, was found guilty, along with his sister, Jessica DeGroot, of sending out thousands of fraudulent emails which conned millions of dollars from unwitting victims.